Tag Archives: Social Media

5 common social media mistakes and how to avoid them

Photo Credit:   All rights reserved by infekted.it

Photo Credit: All rights reserved by infekted.it

Social media can help grow your personal and company brand, if done right. If social media is not done properly, it could send the wrong message to your community and it could hurt your brand. It is important that you don’t put your social media on autopilot and you don’t neglect it. Social media takes a lot of care and feeding.

We have created a list of five common social media mistakes and how you can avoid them.

1. Not customizing your message to the social network

How many times have you seen @ signs on LinkedIn? Probably a lot. Do you listen to those messages when you know they are for another social network? Probably not. What about learning about LinkedIn on Twitter? Are you really going to read an article about LinkedIn tips on Twitter? It is a common mistake that people make is not customizing posts for each platform.

The fix: Remember what the purpose is of each network is and its ins and outs. LinkedIn is a social network for professionals; therefore, your posts should be more professional. Facebook is a network for friends; so these posts should be less formal, more casual. Remember to cater your message to the platform. For some that is communications 101 but for others that is a common mistake.

2. No strategy

Have you ever asked yourself why you are on Facebook? What about Twitter? Are the people your company trying to reach on that social network? Are your friends still on Facebook or have they left for another platform like Instagram? Who are you trying to communicate with? Before you or your company joins a social media platform, ask yourself: why?

The fix: Create a social media strategy. Having an intern manage your company’s social media presence is a big mistake (here are 11 reasons why). A seasoned and experience professional should be handling your company’s social media presence because he or she knows your business well and can avoid crises.

3. One-way communication

Social media is not a platform to blast messages one way. It is a way for people and brands to listen, learn and engage. How often do you see a brand or person never respond to a post or a message they sent? How often do you see questions or concerns go unanswered by brands and people? It shows a lack of understanding the true essence of social media: being “social.”

The fix: Social media is way to humanize brands (here are 20 tips on that topic) and open up possibilities for people to connect with people around the world. Social media is a platform for two-way not one-way communications. For everyone @ mention on Twitter, reply back. It doesn’t take a lot of time to say thank you to your followers who care about you or your brand.

4. Selling. Selling. Selling.

Social platforms are not for selling. People don’t join social media networks to be sold to. They join them to converse, see what others are doing and learn about the world. How often do you see posts about companies talking about themselves too much?

The fix: Share news and expert content that is helpful and shareable. Find a balance of posts that promote others and you or your company once in a while. Share content created by your colleagues and industry experts. Be helpful not salesy.

5. Inconsistent or no posts

How many times do you see a company create a social network but they haven’t posted in months or years? The page looks like a ghost town. For example, how many Twitter accounts have you seen where the person still has an egghead and has never tweeted? Inconsistent posting on social sites can say more to your followers than what you are actually posting. Would you work with a company that didn’t care about its social media presence? How you would be treated as a customer? Would you get neglected as well?

The fix: Make sure you post at least once a week. On some social networks, you may want to post once a day but you don’t want to clutter your followers’ feed. For example, Twitter is a much faster moving feed so posts can be much more frequent than Facebook. On LinkedIn, you may want to make an update at least twice a week because your home feed on that platform is getting more activity recently with the launch of sponsored updates.

What would you add to this list? What are you seeing that others are doing wrong on social media?

This post is courtesy of guest blogger Cassandra D’Aiello, social media manager at Perspectiv3

3 free image editing apps for social media

Image courtesy of YaiSirichai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of YaiSirichai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

If you are active on social media, you know that social networking sites frequently change the look, feel and functionality. Look at what happens almost on a monthly basis with Facebook. Not to mention LinkedIn and YouTube. They both recently underwent a series of updates and changes.

One day you have a perfect background photo and the next day you don’t.

It is important for you and your company to keep up with these changes because it is a key component of making a good first impression and keeping your community coming back for more. They are more likely to engage with you and your brand with eye-pleasing images that make their experience on your pages enjoyable and fun. Not to mention, it also provides an opportunity to show off you and your company’s personality.

But social networking sites don’t make it easy.

Have you tried to edit your graphic or photos using Adobe Photoshop or your pre-loaded image editor?

Have you tried over and over to successfully maneuver your way through editing a picture to the correct pixel size that each social network requires?

As you may know, Facebook requires your timeline cover photo to be 851 x 315 pixels, Twitter requires your background to be 1920 x 1080 pixels and YouTube requires your header to be 970 x 150 pixels.

We feel your pain.

Below is a list of three photo-editing apps (with their pros and cons) that can help you edit you and your company’s social media images for free (now you won’t have to use image editing websites that charge a hefty monthly or program subscription fee).

1. GetPaint.net

Pros: Range of effects; straight-forward interface; and diverse menu items.

Cons: Software download required; limited brush types; and lack of layer effects.

2. Pixlr

Pros: Facebook compatibility; basic layer canvas feature; and no download necessary.

Cons: Limited import/export options; no frame options; and no option to save favorite effects.

3. PicMonkey

Pros: Easy to use; variety of editing and features; and blemish fixing tools.

Cons: Lack of undo option; many options not free; and limited fonts available.

What free image editing apps would you add to this list? Let us know!

This post is courtesy of guest blogger Cassandra D’Aiello, social media manager at Perspectiv3

10 free tools to manage your personal brand and online reputation

Personal branding dilemma

Personal branding dilemma (Photo credit: stefano principato)

Do you Google yourself and find another person with your same name pops on the screen?

Want to prevent a recruiter from seeing those drunk college photos that your friends posted on Facebook?

Want others find out quickly who you are, what you do and what content you are sharing online?

If your answer to all those questions is “yes” then you will want to monitor and be proactive about your personal brand and online reputation.

Managing your personal brand and online reputation is not an easy task but here are 10 FREE tools that can help:

1. BrandYourself

This website is a great way to manage and take ownership of your search results. This tool makes sure that the search engines like Google and Bing find the “real” you and not someone else who may have a name close to your name (or in some cases the same name). It helps you put your most relevant results at the top and improves your personal brand.

BrandYourself

2. About Me

This website helps you create your own personal homepage that is a central place for all of your online website properties like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram and blog. This tool can help you improve your presence on the web and help others quickly learn about who you are and what you share online.

About.Me

3. Social Mention

This tool sends you alerts of your keywords. It analyzes when you are mentioned and how important those mentions really are. In other words, it is social media search engine. It searches user-generated content like blogs, bookmarks, comments and videos.

SocialMention

4. Who’s Talkin?

This tool is similar to SocialMention in that it alerts you of your mentions. It helps you search for conversations that you care about the most.

whos-talkin

5. NameChk

Want to know if your name is available on a social network? This tool is helpful in making sure you secure your domains and don’t let cybersquatters steal your name on social networks. It helps you figure out if your desired social media username or URL is still available on tons of social networks.

namechk

6. HootSuite

This tool helps you manage and measure your social media presence in one simple dashboard. You can manage multiple social media profiles, schedule messages and tweets, track mentions of your name and analyze social media traffic.

hootsuite

7. Google Alerts

These alerts are still a must-do today for searching for the keywords you want to know about such as your name or nickname. It also helps you stay up-to-date on keywords you are interested in like public relations, content marketing, brand journalism or social media.

google-alerts

8. Google’s Me on the Web

This tools notifies you when your personal data like email address or phone number gets published online. This helps you keep up-to-date on what information is being published about you and whether you need to take action or not.

google-me-on-the-web

9. Yasni

This tool can help you search for a phone number, email address, profession and location of any person. The tool provides news and links about any individual.

yasni

10. Naymz

This tool measures and manages your social reputation. This tool gives you a score based on how people find you. You can calculate your social influence and earn badges/endorsements of your strong reputation and influence like Klout does.

Naymz

What free tools have you found helpful to manage your personal brand and online reputation?

The A to Z guide to social media

alphabet stamps

alphabet stamps (Photo credit: river seal)

Sometimes it’s worth getting back to basics.  Here is a compact roadmap to social media – compiled as an easy-to-follow A to Z guide.

Access. Some companies still deny access to social networks at work.  According to a Cisco study, 33 percent of college students and young professionals under the age of 30 say they would prioritize social media access over salary in accepting a job offer.

Balance. Brands and people should balance the amount of time they spend on social media and the amount of time they spend on each of the different social media networks.

Channels. Don’t get caught up in social media channels – instead develop a social media strategy.

Democracy. According to some reports, social media has sparked democracy. What do you think?

Engagement. Social media provides brands with direct access to their primary audience: customers. Read 21 rules for social media engagement.

Facebook. Despite some people getting frustrated with Facebook, it is still the top social network a majority of us still use. According to Business2Community, 77 percent of B2C companies acquired customers via Facebook.

Google+. This is now the second-largest social network. Google+ is appealing to many because of three reasons: search results, hangouts and the new Communities.

Humanize. Social media is humanizing brands. Humans connect with humans – not with brands or logos. Social media helps tear down the traditional walls that large organizations put up. Read 10 ways to humanize your brand on social media.

Instagram. Despite Instagram recently losing 25 percent of its daily active users, it is still the choice of photo sharing today. Read 5 things brands can learn from the Instagram fallout and 3 ways to grow your Instagram community.

Journalists. We are all now citizen journalists. In other words, we all play an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information. Remember how social media played a big role in the US Airways airplane crash into the Hudson River.

Knowledge. You can learn a lot on your social networks. As a job seeker, you can learn about your future company before you interview with them. As a brand, you can learn about the digital body language of your customers.

LinkedIn. This network keeps growing with more than 200 million users. It is the top social network for many B2B companies (read 7 steps to LinkedIn success for B2B companies). Their new endorsements feature has negative and positive reviews but the jury is still out. In the meantime, you may want to read how to make the most of LinkedIn endorsements.

MySpace. Justin Timberlake is bringing sexy back to MySpace. But is it enough? Only time will tell but it is worth keeping an eye on. Read 5 things marketers will love about MySpace.

News. People now go to Twitter or other social networks to find out their news since it can break faster than through the traditional media outlets. Read how social media is taking over the news industry.

Openness. Whether you like or not, you are learning a lot about your friends and brands than you ever did before … the good, bad and the ugly. Social media is breaking down the traditional “walls” of information that friends or brands put up.

Pinterest. This network has exploded. It is on its ways to becoming a household name in social media. Pinterest is addictive and it recently launched business pages. Read 5 ways brands us Pinterest to authentically connect.

Quora. With the death of LinkedIn answers, this Q&A site has a lot of potential. Bing has integrated it into its social search. Read 9 ways to get more out of Quora.

Relationships. This is what social media is all about. Connecting with others.

Slideshare. This is the most underutilized site out there. Read 7 reasons why B2B marketers should love SlideShare and 11 ways to use SlideShare for content marketing success.

Twitter. Twitter is where a lot of news breaks these days. According to Twitter, there are over a billion tweets sent every three days.

Universe. Social media opens up your world to the entire universe, not just your city, town, neighborhood or street. You can connect with people all over the world with a couple of clicks.

Voice. It is important to find your authentic voice in social media and craft your own voice. Read how 5 brands crafted their social media voice and 5 tips to strengthen your company’s social media voice. Have you developed your own personal social media voice? What about your brand’s voice? Read 20 great social media voices and how to develop your own.

Widgets. Social media networks have developed stand-alone applications that you can embed into other applications like a website or a desktop. Some of the top social networks widgets: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest.

X-factor. Social media is changing the game. It can be hard to truly describe social media’s influence on marketing, public relations, organizations and people but social media is changing worlds.

YouTube. Gangham Style video on YouTube now has more than 1 billion views. Need I say more about the popularity of this social network?

Zest. In other words: vigorous and enthusiastic enjoyment. This is what social media is all about. People enjoy spending time on social media. In the United States, people spent 121 billion minutes on social media in July 2012, according to Nielsen’s 2012 social media report. That is 6.5 hours per person (if every person in the U.S used social media).

What would you suggest as alternative letters to this list?

Effective content marketing: 5 habits that help you stand apart

effective content marketing

Content marketing is gaining traction at many companies, and some may argue that it is now mainstream. According to the 2013 content marketing research reports for B2B and B2C industries by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 91 percent of B2B marketers and 86 percent of B2C marketers are using content marketing. In addition, 54 percent of B2B marketers and 55 percent of B2C marketers will increase their content marketing spend in the next 12 months.

When you see successful content marketers, you may ask yourself: “What are they doing differently?” “What do they know that others don’t?” “What are they consistently doing right?”

Here are five habits that will help you become an effective content marketing pro and help you rise above the competition:

1. Know how to explain content marketing in business terms

Even though marketers understand content marketing, a lot of marketers have trouble making the business case for content marketing to senior leaders in their organization. It is important to have advocates of content marketing in the C-suite, especially your chief marketing officer and chief executive officer.

Companies that successfully demonstrate how content marketing can or will help them meet their business objectives can grow their content marketing budgets. They can also tie their content marketing goals to enterprise-wide business goals. For example, a company’s goal may be to build brand awareness. Content marketing helps by providing authentic and engaging content that helps current and potential customers learn more about the perspectives of a brand.

Another example of a business benefit gained from content marketing is customer loyalty, which can be built and maintained through delivering relevant, useful information to your audience in the form of email and print newsletters, print and online magazines, or live customer or virtual events.

2. Build a strong and integrated content marketing team

You can’t do it alone; it takes a team to be successful. Read “Creating a Content Marketing Team and Workflow Plan,” to learn how to assemble a team and develop your editorial plan:

  • Establish processes that are flexible but firm, so your expert team can develop content that is relevant and meaningful. Furthermore, you will want to expand your reach beyond just the content marketing team, so other parts of your organization can benefit from the content you create.
  • You may also want to develop a content marketing advisory board that includes people from many different parts of the business to ensure you are producing the right content for your audience, and can use your content to address their goals at every point of interaction.

3. Tell compelling stories

This is the part where effective content marketers really shine. As one Copyblogger blog post says, learn how to be interesting. In other words, tell great stories and get your audience hungry for more (read “Brand Storytelling Lessons You Can Steal from Hollywood,” for more tips on how to do this).

It’s also helpful to take a tip or two from professional journalists, who write their content as “must-read” stories (for inspiration, read “6 Ideas B2B Content Marketers Can Take from Professional Journalists“).

Some tips you can take from professional journalists:

  • They create stories that might refer to a specific product or service, but they don’t’ directly promote or endorse them.
  • Journalists follow strong editorial guidelines to ensure the consistency, accuracy, and integrity of their work and the publication they write for. These guidelines also help them determine whether a given article meets the quality standards of their publication.
  • Journalists also know what constitutes a valid, reliable source of information, and how to attribute those sources correctly.

You can also learn to tell compelling stories by learning the key components of journalism and basic storytelling principles.

The first key component: Know the five stages of developing a story. These stages are:

  • Brainstorm
  • Find a source
  • Conduct an interview
  • Draft the article
  • Meet the deadline

The second element is learning how to create different acts (or “mini stories”) within your stories. For example, modern storytelling has a three-act structure. The first act is called exposition, where a writer identifies the main characters, their relationships, and what type of world they live in. The second act is referred to as the rising action, where the main characters can’t resolve their problems because they don’t have the skills or the right state of mind to overcome them. The third act is the story resolution, where questions are answered, problems are solved, and the characters often gain a new sense of themselves.

The third key element is good graphic design, or how imagery and graphic design helps bring out the story. That leads us to the next key component: the importance of combing words and visuals to paint the picture. Basically, this means keeping an eye on how you associate the written word with visuals that help illustrate or enhance the emotion of the story.

The last element is an understanding of how stories can build upon other stories. Journalists are good at reporting the story, but often a story will continue to develop over the course of days, weeks, or even months. Reporters write about what they know at the time, and they report on the story again when the story develops. By building upon the previous report, a larger story begins to develop, and the full story is eventually told. Sometimes, journalists even create a story recap of all the developments over the course of time so you can see the timeline of events.

By understanding these key elements of journalism and storytelling, you can craft an integrated and holistic brand story that will draw your audience in and drive them to take action on behalf of your business.

4. Lead change

Content marketing may require a mindset shift at your company so that you are prepared to create content that tells a compelling story, rather than offering up the same old promotional copy. In order to accomplish this feat, you will need to know how to lead successful change at your organization.

The fable, Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions, illustrates the eight-step process of change. It is an easy-to-read story about penguins that realize their iceberg is melting, and go about making necessary changes to improve the situation. Today, effective content marketers should be more than just storytellers; they should also be agents for change. Why? Because successful organizations that excel at content marketing are able to function almost as if they were a publisher or a media company. That is why content marketing is sometimes called “brand journalism” — because it requires a brand to think in terms of what their readers or viewers are most interested in, rather than what the brand itself wants to talk about.

What do journalists do really well? They pump out a lot of quality content that makes their audience want to come back to them to get their news and information. The same should apply to your company’s content: the information you provide should be considered your product.

But while the information-as-product concept may help you address some of the tactical decisions involved in branded content creation, getting your company to really take a strategic, integrated, and editorial approach to content marketing may require a more significant mindset shift. The most essential step in leading change like this is creating a sense of urgency that such a transformation needs to take place (which takes us back to the first habit: Know how to put content marketing in business terms).

5. Audit and assess content continually

It’s urgent that content marketers have a detailed awareness of what is in their content inventory, and a solid understanding of how each piece of content integrates with their overall content strategy. For example, if you produce an article on a particular topic, do you have a white paper or video that presents a more in-depth perspective on the topic? Is there a way you can use the two pieces together to tell the larger story in a more vivid way?

The ability to slice, dice, separate, and recombine content in new ways is why you may want to consider conducting a content audit, which will show you what stories have been developed, what stories you may need to refresh, and what stories still need to be told on behalf of your brand. It will also help you avoid content archipelagos. Just like an archipelago is a group of islands that is typically uninhabited or rarely visited, this is a group of content that didn’t resonate well with your audience and wasn’t shared at the level you were hoping for. By auditing your content to see what performed to your expectations, you can get valuable insight that will help you decide what content to change and what to create more of.

Content marketing is as much science as it is art. With the availability of marketing automation tools, web analytical tools, and social media tools, there is no shortage of usable data at the content marketer’s fingertips. But what makes successful content experts stand apart is their ability to incorporate the information they gather from the data and use it to improve the content they create and distribute.

For example, if you are seeing that your blog post, “10 tips for topic X” is being read and shared a lot, do you have a plan in place to make sure you recognize its popularity and develop more content on that topic? Do you have a content calendar to keep track of the content you have produced, and what you would like to produce in the future?

It is also just as important that you and your team understand why your most popular content got the increased attention. Did they spend extra time engaging with your article because you included a video or slideshow? Was the topic related to a hot-button issue that drove a lot of conversations in the comments? The more you know about the factors that contributed to the success of a particular piece of content, the easier it will be to deliver the content your audience is looking for.

What do you think successful content marketers do differently? What would you add to this list?

This post originally appeared on the Content Marketing Institute blog.

The 7 Cs of a successful social media strategy

A lot of people and companies decide, after using social media for a while, that they need a strategy. Of course, that approach is like putting the cart before the horse. To ensure success, think about your social media strategy in the context of the seven Cs.

1. Community

Like all good communication, it is best to start by determining your target audience. Where do they spend time online? What social media channels do they use? Before your social media efforts can take shape, you should listen and learn about your community. For example, a B2C consumer goods brand like Oreo, one of their top social media communities is Facebook. Their recent salute to the Mars landing was a huge hit with their 27 million Facebook fans. For a job seeker, he or she will most likely find a community on LinkedIn because according to a recent survey, 93 percent of job recruiters use LinkedIn to find qualified candidates.

Finding out where your community interacts on social media is the first step of a successful social media strategy. It is important to first determine what type of conversations are taking place about your brand and in your industry before engaging in a community or building a community from scratch. If you decide that your brand should build a community from the ground up, you should learn from Gini Dietrich (@ginidietrich) and how she build an engaged community on the popular Spin Sucks blog or you may want to talk to Mark Ragan (@markraganceo), the publisher of the Ragan’s PR Daily.

2. Content

After you figure out how your community engages with social media, you should next figure out what content you are going to share with your followers. For example, if you are looking to grow your personal brand, what articles are you going to share to highlight your expertise about your job or personal interests? If you are a company, how can you show your clients and prospects that you are a thought leader or that you are trying to make their lives easier? To learn more about the importance of content, you may want to read the Content Marketing Institute blog.

3. Curation

You can’t think about content, without mentioning curation. Curation is a way of sharing other people’s content. According to Beth Kanter (@kanter) in her post Content Curation Primer, content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way. Rohit Bhargava (@rohitbhargava) in his post Manifesto for the Content Curator defines a content curator as someone who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content a specific issue. Content curation is one of the easiest ways to share content because you don’t have to create anything. This leads well into the next “C”: creation.

4. Creation

Creation is the act of creating content online, whether it be in the form of text, images or video. If you have posted a blog post, uploaded a video to YouTube or took a picture and posted it to Instagram, you are in the creation business. One of the ways to help you create content is to create an editorial calendar. It may be helpful to use this editorial calendar template. If you don’t like spreadsheets, then you may want to consider using an application like Divvy. For the more advance content creators, using a content marketing software platform like Kapost should be something you consider.

5. Connection

After you have either curated and/or created content, the next C is the physical act of sharing content. This C is about connecting with your community and getting a deep understanding of what your target audience likes about your social media activities and strategy. Based on measurements and data, what content are your communities attracted to and willing to share with their friends and colleagues?

Many brands today have created buyer personas so they can better understand and connect better with their target audience. In other words, personas are fictional representations of your ideal clients, based on real data about demographics, online behavior, along with educated assumptions about their history, motivations and concerns. On the personal branding side, use these 5 tools to manage your relationships online.

6. Conversation

This C is all about having a conversation with your community. This C is very similar to the community, but the important difference is the actual engagement part of communicating with your communities. To help you with this concept, learn the 3 key social media conversation starters.

7. Conversion

The seventh C is conversion. You can’t talk about social media without having a return on investment (ROI) conversation. The important thing to remember here is that your social media strategy should be tied to your business strategy. To help you get started, you may want to look at these 14 social media ROI metrics.

When thinking about this from the company perspective, it is important to remember to look at it two ways: the external view by your clients and prospects and the internal view by your employees. To develop a successful social media strategy, it is important to communication, convince and most importantly, convert social media into action, both externally and internally. Whether your social media metrics are at your company, they will be boil down to three main categories: awareness, sales and loyalty.

On the personal branding side, social media is a way to help you advance your career—whether it be successfully climbing the corporate ladder or launching a successful business. You can judge the success of your personal social media strategy by whether or not you are top of mind with your network and whether it helps you get that interview or land that perfect job.

One of the ways to maximize conversion with your social media strategy, you may want to learn about the social media maturity model. According to Forrester, there are 5 main stages of social media maturity and adoption.

More than 7 C’s

In conclusion, a successful social media strategy should include: finding and engaging your communities and/or building a new community; making sure you have the right mix of content curation and creation (according to research, the sweet spot of curation to creation is 60-40); connecting well with your community; having relevant and meaningful conversations; and converting on your goals. Just like the 4 P’s of marketing has grown to the 9’s P’s of marketing, I am sure there are more C’s than seven. What C’s would you add to this list?

Some additional resources

You don’t have to take my word for it. There is a lot of great information online about developing a social media strategy. Some my favorite blog posts on this topic include the post by Amy Porterfield (@amyporterfield) on the Social Media Examiner about the 3 steps to an effective social media strategy, the post by Jay Baer (@jaybaer) on his blog Convince and Convert about how to develop a social media strategy in 7 steps and the post by B.L. Ochman (@whatsnext) on Mashable about the three things you should know about social media strategy.

5 ways to create expert content with limited resources

 

In the world of tighter budgets, less staff and more workflow, who has time to write content?  How much do you have to write to be effective? Why write it at all?

A recent business study showed that 75 percent of buyers are likely to use social media in the purchase process and 55 percent of B2B survey respondents search for information using social sites.  Remember all those social platforms you put up for your company? Better have something to say on them, or better yet, have something to pass along. Content is your currency, make it worth sharing within your target community!

Below are five ideas on how you can create expert content, with limited resources:

1.    Curate

This is the cornerstone of a robust content management program. Similar to a museum curator, you don’t create the artwork; you collect and assemble it into a relevant showpiece. This involves organizing just where you are going to get your content from, and that’s not Wikipedia. A well-organized collection of useful information will motivate your audience not only to read, but also share with others.

Just ask Guy KawasakiHe’s a master curator, employing a staff to help sort through the mountains of information buzzing across the web. In fact he uses Twitter to send folks to his website at Alltop.com by tweeting links to his “online magazine rack,” in other words, the content he has aggregated from original sources.

Trusted, credible sources are key to curating good content. Start by building a go-to list of sites that you rely on regularly. For me, as a social businessperson, a few I subscribe to via email for updates are:

In addition, I use Facebook to like pages such as Mashable.com/tech to get all the technology news by the master curated site on the web.

2.    Crowdsourcing

Here’s yet another way of collecting knowledge from different sources, where the aggregated collection is the value. You’ll want to ask subject matter experts in your network a specific topic based question or two and aggregate your findings. Here’s an example of expert shared tips, which makes for a perfect published piece: Laptop Life Tips: Experts Share 10 Tricks To Make Your Computer Last Longer.

Or you can take a more public poll. Facebook recently added a Poll app called “Ask a Question.” Survey Monkey also allows free surveys and gives you a link to drive traffic to. LinkedIn Answers offers a chance to ask industry professionals for feedback and opinions.

Here’s a question: “What percentage of your marketing budget are you going to use on creating content this year?”

3.    Comment

I just read a story about Big Data and where it’s headed. Well, if I’m a systems architect, I just may have a lot to say about that. I cite the story, and then add my commentary. It’s also good practice to notify its author and build a warm relationship. Follow him/her on their social sites as well, you’re building press credentials for later.

4.    Use Numbers and Lists

Research shows that the highest rated posts on the web organize their content into numerical lists. 5 ways to create content, 3 top server consolidation methods, 7 of your favorite blogs (this one included). A list that is well sourced and has meaning will inspire your readers to comment and engage.  No room for fluff here. Quality is the key as shown in this article by HubSpot, “The Top 10 Qualities of High Quality List Posts.”

5.    Interview

My colleague, Kathy Tito, from New England Sales & Marketing does this very well. In “The Bootstrap” blog, she finds people of interest in technology marketing and interviews them Q and A style in a candid, no-nonsense way. Not only does it make for some great storytelling, but also she has acquired some great business contacts along the way.

What would you add to this list? How are you creating content with limited resources?

This post is courtesy of guest blogger Anita O’Malley, who is a social and marketing business communications expert. She recently curated her own company, Perspectiv3. She can be reached at anitaom@perspectivmarketing.com

When is the best time to tweet?

A typical Deutsche Bahn railway station clock

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all want our tweets to get noticed, read and retweeted—whether they are your personal tweets or you are tweeting on behalf of a brand.

The purpose of this blog post is to give you some information about what research says about the best time to tweet and show you some tools so you can tailor your tweeting times to your followers’ habits.

Time of Day

According to the Twitter vs. Time infographic produced by the marketing company Lemon.ly referencing Twitter and Sysomos data, the most traffic on Twitter occurs between 9 to 11 a.m. ET and 1 to 3 p.m. ET. According to Hubspot Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella’s research, the best time to tweet is 5 p.m. ET. The takeaway: Spread your tweets out throughout the day with an emphasis toward later in the day.

Time Zone

Pulling data from Dan Zarrella, the Science of Social Timing infographic created by KISSMetrics, shows that the breakdown of tweets in U.S. 48% of tweets are from the East Coast, 33% of tweets are from the Central time zone and 14% are from the West Coast. It is important to remember that nearly 80% of the general U.S. population is located in the Central and Eastern time zones. The takeaway: Think East Coast time.

Day of the Week

According to Dan Zarrella’s How to Get More Clicks on Twitter, you are more likely to get clicks on your Twitter links toward the end of the week and weekends. From my personal experience, I have been successful with Sunday evenings. In terms of followers clicking on your Twitter links, followers are more likely to do so on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The takeaway: Don’t forget about the weekends.

Tools

Optimizing you or your brand’s daily tweeting habits is important in making sure you reach your followers. I found 13 tools that can help you figure out and maximize the timing of your tweets.

1. WhenToTweet. This tool will help you figure out when most of your followers are online.

2. TweetWhen. This free tool shows you the best times to tweet based on your past 1,000 tweets.

3. Tweriod. This free tool looks at you and your Twitter followers’ tweets to provide times on when you should tweet.

4. TweetStats. This free tool will show you detailed analysis of your best tweeting time.

5. Timely. This free tool analyzes your past 199 tweets and figures out the best time slots for you to tweet.

6. Tweue. This free tool is basically a Twitter queue that will evenly space up to 10 tweet from 15 minutes to eight hours apart.

7. TweetReports. This free tool gathers the stats from your top 25 influential followers and analyzes the times where keywords are talked about the most, and when you may want to participate in these conversations.

8. Lookacross. This paid tool (30-day free trial) to find the best time to reach people.

9. 14Blocks. A paid tool ($5-$49/month) that analyzes your followers’ activities to find out the best times to tweet each day of the week.

10. Socialflow. A paid tool ($1 for first month) publishes your content when it will resonate the most with your Twitter followers.

11. Hootsuite. A free web-based social media dashboard that allows you to queue up and post updates in a timely fashion.

12. Buffer. This free app allows you to add articles, photos and videos to it anytime of the day and then it automatically shares them throughout the day

13. TweetDeck. This free tool allows you to schedule tweets and can help you manage your social media platforms.

Conclusion: Success Lies in Frequency Not Timing

In the end, success on Twitter does not rely on when you tweet but how frequently you tweet. Not too much but not too little. If you post at least 5 times a day, spaced throughout the day, you will mostly likely achieve the maximum impact of your tweets.

7 ways social media is changing PR

Social media is a game changer for public relations. It is bringing new challenges and opportunities to the profession and to savvy pros. I have outlined seven ways that social media is changing PR.

  1. Two-way conversation. PR pros can no longer blast out information about their brand or client and expect to succeed. Consumers and journalists have come to expect that they won’t be “spammed” and will be answered quickly and in a personal manner. Timely, two-way communication is the “new normal.” Listening, engagement and thought leadership are now three areas that PR pros manage.
  2. Digital communication. PR pros need to know the latest digital tools, including social media monitoring tools, Twitter, Google Analytics. They need to understand blogging and the tools that come with that. We need to understand the nuance of communication for different online communities. (ie. between communicating on Twitter and/or Facebook.)
  3. Research. The social networks offer a wealth of information to PR pros on target markets, customer service, and media they want to pitch. They can now create new opportunities that may not have been available before without social media.
  4. Journalism is changing. Traditional media is no longer the “go to” source for information. The news can “break” from anywhere and the general public has become citizen journalists. For example, look at the U.S. Airways crash into the Hudson River or Michael Jackson’s death. The consumer no longer relies on big news organizations to be on the scene for news. Companies are, in essence, becoming media companies and their PR pros are becoming publishers. Be sure to read How is Social Media NOT Journalism?
  5. Faster and more visible communications. In our 24/7 customer-centric world, social media has increased the potential for complaints and the visibility of this negative outcry. Since we live in a social network, crises happen faster, and response time must be as well. It is important for PR pros to develop their organization or client online presence BEFORE a crisis happens. Because technology is always changing, the crisis plan needs to become a “living” document that helps give an immediate and well-informed response to the latest information.
  6. Analytics. PR pros need to understand and use math everyday. Social media can better help track the return on investment, including direct costs of staff time spent using the tools, and measurement of the traffic it drives to a company’s website.
  7. Organizational hierarchy change. Internal and external communications have been democratized thanks to social media taking out the extra layers such as a direct line to the CEO if you are an internal or external stakeholder.

What would you add to this list? How do you think social media has changed PR?

This post originally appeared on the blog Spin Sucks.

10 tips to become a more successful PR pro

In today’s ultra-competitive PR world you need to find ways to stand out. Following are 10 things that continue to help me become a more successful PR pro. I hope they help you, too.

  1. Do your homework. A mass pitch never amasses a lot of coverage. Before you pitch a journalist or blogger, know what they cover. Research their past stories and fine tune your pitch to appeal to their audience.
  2. Learn something new. Take a training course. Sign up for a conference. Go back to school. Take an online certification like HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Certification. You may find out you know more than you think.
  3. Become a better writer. Practice being a “headline communicator” by learning how to hook your audience with your first five words. Find creative ways to flex your writing muscle. Become a contributing author to an industry publication. Start your own blog or write for your company’s blog.
  4. Develop deeper relationships. Remember how powerful and memorable handwritten thank you notes are in today’s online world. Look for new and creative ways to keep yourself top of mind in the eyes of your stakeholders. Don’t forget that relationships are best built face-to-face than over the phone or on a computer.
  5. Learn how to better manage the yes. This is a twist on managing the no. Learn how to better manage the expectations of others. Make sure that you set the scope of work and discuss desirable outcomes. Make sure you always under-promise and over-deliver.
  6. Prioritize. When you feel overwhelmed by multiple large projects, step back and remember what’s most important to accomplish today. Create a to-do list at the end of every day, so when you come into work the next morning you know what you need to do first.
  7. Be more resourceful. If you can’t reach a journalist or blogger over the phone or by email, search for them on Twitter and send them a message. Find creative ways to pitch beyond the standard press release. Seek out the stories journalists are working on by using services like HARO and NewsBasis.
  8. Take advantage of social media. More journalists are using social media to find story ideas and sources. Use sites like Muck Rack, MediaOnTwitter, and Journalist Tweets to find out who’s online and how to contact them.
  9. Network, Network, Network. Join professional PR associations like PRSA or IABC or Ragan. Become a member of your local Social Media Club. Participate in Twitter chats. You never know when a relationship may help you with your current job or finding a future one.
  10. Use free PR tools. Read Jeremy Porter’s 13 PR resources you may have overlooked post. There are many tools out there that can help you deliver tremendous value to your brand or client – without spending a dime.

What tips would you add to this list?

This post originally appeared on the blog Spin Sucks.

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